Takeaway: We’re writing to update you about what we’ve proposed to management to achieve a fair, transparent, and just process for the pay equity program we won in our last contract. Our aim in negotiations is to agree on a quicker process for the people who applied to the program earliest, while settling on a permanent framework for the long term. We also want you to know the results of the Pay Equity Survey of faculty conducted in January.
We won a historic pay equity program to address inequities across gender, race, ethnicity, campuses, and other categories as part of our contract in 2019. Since then, several hundred faculty have applied to this program, but none have received a salary adjustment. Though we started discussions with management earlier, we finally began meaningful negotiations around the pay equity process in late January. We hope to come to a resolution soon, but we need to settle on a process that is fair, just, and transparent, because it will have consequences for decades to come.
We have proposed the creation of two bodies for the process of reviewing applications:
1. Salary Equity Review Committee (SERC): Evaluating the research, teaching, and service accomplishments and the equivalence of faculty requires a committee of faculty with an understanding of our professional standards. We had proposed this as part of our original contract negotiations. Now we have refined our proposal to work similarly to the Promotion Review Committee (PRC) that evaluates faculty for promotion. We have rejected the use of a regression model as the sole method by which salary equity adjustments are determined. And in the spirit of transparency, we have asked for full documentation of the methods and data used to determine salary adjustments for each faculty applicant.
2. Office of Pay Equity (OPE): This office will be charged with overseeing compliance with the Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act. It will develop training and mentoring materials for faculty and management, including guidelines for hiring and out-of-cycle increases to facilitate compliance with the Equal Pay Act. It will routinely conduct pay equity analyses by school and campus, and these findings will be summarized in an annual report shared with faculty.
We understand that some of you have been waiting as long as 18 months to have your pay equity application addressed. Thus, for the short term, we have told management that we will agree to a quicker process, before the two bodies above are established, to resolve the applications that were submitted earliest, in the first year of the process. There would be an appeals process in place for those who are not satisfied with their salary adjustment. After that, we have proposed to move towards the SERC model. Whenever the cases are resolved, the salary adjustments will be retroactive to the date of application.
Results from the Faculty Pay Equity Survey
There is tremendous support for our union’s efforts on this issue, according to the Pay Equity Survey we circulated two months ago. Here are some of the survey’s key findings, based on the responses we got from over a thousand tenure- and non-tenure-track faculty. These findings have informed and guided our negotiations with management:
- Over 90 percent of female tenure-track (TT) faculty believe that Rutgers should do more to address systematic pay inequities at Rutgers. Among male TT faculty, between 70 percent and 81 percent (across our three campuses) hold this view.
- The most common challenges to overcome to achieve pay equity, according to TT faculty across the three campuses, are: lack of transparency about salaries, no broad pay equity analysis, lack of focus on pay equity by the administration, and no interest in identifying or resolving the root causes of pay inequity. Non-tenure-track (NTT) faculty reported similar views.
- Approximately 60 percent or more of TT faculty respondents across the three campuses recommended a pay equity plan at Rutgers that included an annual pay equity analysis inclusive of gender and race/ethnicity and an annual report summarizing the pay equity analysis by school and campus.
- Further, 40 percent to 70 percent of TT faculty across the campuses wanted a pay equity plan that included a zero-tolerance policy regarding pay inequity, an annual evaluation of deans and chancellors on pay equity metrics, and a systematic analysis of the root causes of pay inequity at Rutgers.
- Less than 11 percent of male TT respondents and 1 percent of female TT respondents reported that no plan was needed.
Dr. Enobong (Anna) Branch, Senior Vice President for Equity, recently noted that “the problem is not that higher education articulates a commitment to diversity and inclusion, but the problem is, oftentimes, it ends there.” This is also true for pay equity. Through our negotiations with management, we hope to forge a clear and multi-pronged plan that ensures pay equity is the norm at Rutgers.
Nancy, Deepa, Haydee, Todd, and Becky
Nancy Wolff, Rutgers AAUP-AFT Pay Equity Committee
Deepa Kumar, Past President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
Haydee Herrera-Guzman, Rutgers AAUP-AFT Executive Council
Todd Wolfson, President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
Rebecca Givan, Vice President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
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